Panthers close gap on Blaze

Coventry 0-4 Nottingham (21.12.08)

Coventry Blaze felt defeat on Sunday after a beating from the Nottingham Panthers in what was the most hyped game of the season so far.

Expectations were high for both players and fans alike, but Blaze were stumped by some excellent goal tending from Panther’s netminder, Michel Robinson.

An aggressive start saw two fights in just over a minute and a half.

Carlyle Lewis got the better of Panther, Jeff Bergin and fans were treated once again when Danny Stewart exchanged blows with Bruce Richardson just six seconds later.

It wasn’t long before there were more additions to the already crowded penalty box – Deschateles for Blaze, Tessier and Ndur for Panthers.

Weaver and Calder both came close, but failed to convert chances in the first of many fruitless powerplays for the Blaze.

A wristshot from Russ Cowley later ringed off the post marking Coventry’s best chance so far.

Tempers flared once more, with Sylvain Deschateles and Dan Tessier ending up in the sin bin after a scuffle.

Blaze continued to dominate, with two further powerplay opportunities but the first period ended goalless for both teams.

A calmer start to the second, but Blaze continued to pile on the pressure. Robinson kept the game level, pulling off a sharp glove save from a Barrie Moore shot. Adam Calder almost made it through, only for the puck to creep over the top of the net.

David Clarke responded to the pressure, getting the first goal of the match for the Panthers. He slammed the puck into the top of the net after a mistake from Corey LeClair cost Blaze possession.

Coventry kept the pace up, but with more chances untaken the passion began to fade.

Nottingham played an organised game, doubling their lead before the break. The large crowd of away fans celebrated as Dan Tessier found Johan Molin who slid the puck under JF Perras’s pads.

Blaze were still on the attack in the final period, but their efforts went unrewarded as Robinson blocked all attempts including a slapshot from new recruit Jon Coleman.

Defence suffered and as the only player in the zone, Brendan Cook did not hesitate to add another to the Panther’s lead.

With Blaze unable to recover, frustrations surfaced once more. Galbraith found himself roughing it up with Dan Carlson who took offence to his hit on Corey LeClair.

Clarke got his second of the night, taking the opportunity to stick another in the net less than 30 seconds before the buzzer. A painful end for Blaze fans as many suspected it was offside.

Steelers v Panthers Report

 
This is a match report I wrote near the start of the hockey season. It’s old, but it’s interesting to see how the season progressed.
 
Sheffield Steelers 6-3 Nottingham PanthersSunday October 12th 2008
Sheffield Steelers enjoyed a 6-3 victory over arch rivals Nottingham Panthers on Sunday, with a hat trick from 20 year old Brit Robert Dowd helping Steelers pull from 3-1 behind for the winner.
Steelers fans were in good spirits throughout the highly anticipated derby game, played to a large crowd at Hallam Arena
 
 
It was a nervous start for Sheffield with Ashley Tait in the penalty box for high sticks after only three minutes. However, Panthers struggled to set up a play and narrowly escaped falling behind after a breakaway wristshot from Joe Talbot whizzed over the goal.

Sheffield also failed to capitalize on the powerplay, with some poor passing meaning they could only scramble the puck into the offensive zone.

Steelers fans had something to cheer about ten minutes in, when Ryan Finnerty got the better of Bruce Richardson when blows were exchanged after a disagreement between the pair.

The penalties were one sided with Finnerty receiving five minutes in the box for fighting, but Richardson was handed two minutes for boarding, and two plus ten for instigating on top of his fighting penalty.

Frustrations ran high in the Steelers camp, with Talbot, Sheppard and Munn all producing good shots which couldn’t find their way past netminder Davis Parley.

Nottingham faced even more time on the penalty kill with defenceman Danny Meyers receiving a hooking penalty just after the ten minute mark.

Despite a five on three advantage Sheffield still failed to produce the goods and even allowed Panther Kevin Bergin a shot on goal which was only ruined by a snapped stick.

Nottingham soon snapped up the chance to dominate after the Steelers found themselves with two men in the box.

Wasting no time on the powerplay, they quickly set up camp in the Steelers zone.

The first goal of the match came at 15:15 when Corey Neilson passed behind the goal to find Johan Molin who flicked the puck into the net.

 

The second period was awash with goals, the first of which brought the score to an even one all.

Solid teamwork improved the Steelers powerplay and Captain Jonathan Phillips easily found the net, despite Rumun Ndur’s best efforts to defend.

Steelers fans once again reveled in Ndur’s misery, when he repeatedly fluffed shots on the backhand before being pushed off the puck.

Soon it was Nottingham’s turn to celebrate, scoring two powerplay goals in just under a minute and a half. Bergin scored the first, a wristshot from the blue line which keeper Jody Lehman had no answer for.

A frustrated Lehman then found himself with a two minute slashing penalty, which Corey Neilson took advantage of, hitting Lehman’s water bottle for the Panthers third goal.

The away team quickly lost their discipline and a penalty on Dan Tessier for holding the stick marked the end of Nottingham’s chances.

Steelers took just 19 seconds to convert the penalty into a goal. Robert Dowd put the puck in the net with his first of the night, assisted by Dagenais and Finnerty.

Sheffield were on form now, working hard for their equalizing goal which came at 35:22. The first even handed of the night, scored by Joe Talbot after a scrum around the net.

Just 2 minutes later defenseman Steve Munn easily skated around the defence to set up Dowd for his second. This put Steelers ahead for the first time.

Nottingham’s bad defending continued and were lucky not to be more behind as the period ended 4-3.

 

The goals had rolled in during the second, but the third period was goalless until the last three minutes of play when Sheffield nabbed two.

Nottingham had lost momentum in the break and could only scrape together a few chances to score. Frustrations were felt by Ndur who talked himself into a ten minute penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct after disagreeing with a hooking call.

Man of the match Dowd extended Steelers lead three minutes from the end, with fans celebrating his hat trick by throwing caps onto the ice.

Although the game was sewn up at this point, the rivalry between the teams continued with Tait and Richardson getting two minutes each for holding and roughing respectively.

Steelers rubbed salt in the wounds one more time when a minute after Dowd’s hat trick, Talbot scored his second of the night, wrapping up the game 6-3.

This was an important win for mid-table Sheffield, who have a lot of work to do if they want to win silverware this season.